YAWNING GAPS, DEAFENING SILENCE: What’s the latest with the P680-M Ungka flyover?

The widening gap between girders or beams (inset) of the P680-million Ungka flyover is being blamed on the sinking piers of the structure. (Photos courtesy of PROMETHEUS and Phoenix ERT via Iloilo News Online)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

What’s up with the P680-million Ungka flyover between Iloilo City and Pavia, Iloilo?

All is quiet on the part of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the contractor, International Builders Corp. as they await word from the DPWH central office, particularly the third-party consultant tapped or will be tapped to investigate the three sinking piers or foundations of the flyover.

The latest word from Engr. Jose Al Fruto, DPWH-6 assistant regional director, is that they are still awaiting the recommendation from their central office on what to do with the sinking Piers 4, 5, and 6 of the flyover.

The flyover has 16 piers, but Fruto told Daily Guardian before that they are wondering why only three were manifesting vertical displacement or sinking.

Motorists and passengers are getting more concerned with the status of the flyover after photos of its girders or beams showing big gaps, possibly due to the movement of the piers, circulated on social media recently.

Engineers familiar with flyover and bridge constructions told DG that the increasing gaps could be due to the continuous movement of the three piers.

During the meeting of the Regional Development Council-6’s (RDC-6) infrastructure committee on Dec 19, 2022, it was learned that the vertical displacement or sinking of the flyover exceeded the National Structural Code of the Philippines (NSCP) displacement cap for bridges, which limits allowable displacement of 50 millimeters or less.

Structural engineer Nilo Jardeleza, who was present in the meeting, said all 16 piers of the flyover were erected or founded at a depth of around 28 to 30 meters.

But other experts said the depth should have been 49 to 50 meters.

Jardeleza said in a radio interview that the repair would take very long, including government procurement procedures even as suggestions by the third-party consulting on the design would take more than one year.

He even suggested an overhaul of the sinking portions of the flyover if only to assure its stability and safety.

DG has also learned that IBC has resorted to jet grouting or injecting cementitious material underneath the sinking piers to arrest the movement.

Fruto had stressed in September 2022 that the flyover is still the responsibility of the contractor, IBC, as DPWH only paid 56 percent of the contract price.

“The accomplishment is over 90 percent, but we only paid over 50 percent as of now. Based on this, DPWH still has holdings on the contractor for whatever concerns that will arise. Even after the project is turned over to us, there are still guarantees and warranties as to the culpability and liability of those involved in the project, particularly the contractor,” Fruto said in a previous interview with DG.

2 COMMENTS

  1. There’s a proper budget why give it to the local contractor without flyover experience??? The results are disaster affecting thousands of commuters everyday and totally useless project that benefited only the contractor. Moreover, the architectural design is very poor. It looks like a common bridge you cannot be proud that it is a flyover 😭

    • The initial design of the flyover will have been signed off as approved by DPWH and to approve any design of anything with piles be it a simple flyover or an offshore platform a soil analysis must be performed along with impact testing results and sometimes even HV results as these are required to come up with the design. So it is DPHW at fault.

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